Mysterious Alexandrite and Lost Emerald Crystals

Semiprecious stones have generally very interesting stories in their histories. Somebody maybe will remember my old post about Malachite, Hostess of the Copper Mountain, where unfortunatelly some photos actually are removed from free photo hosting I use normally. I told you many interesting stories here too. We can remember Carnelian (From Shub-Ad And Prophet Mahomet To Pushkin With Carnelian) and others.

Emerald Gemstones
Emerald Gemstones

In the last period I learned a geologist, Michael Leikum, thanks to his blog and a book he actually publishes in it. The book’s title is “Mysterious Stone of Zar Alexander II”. It is about Alexandrite and about other stones.

The chapter I read yesterday is about emeralds and emerald mines in Russia. Precious stones were always objects that attracted attention of all kinds of people. The chapter I read tells about the head of the emerald mines, Mr. Kokovin, that was put into prison accused to hide very big crystal of emerald, 2226 gr, and many minor crystals. This crystal arrived than in S. Petersburg and …was lost there (in 1835). Nobody wanted to bother listening poor Kokovin intended to obtain justice. And he remained an other victim of the human longing for the precious stones.

The crystal that everybody can see in the collection of Fersman Mineralogical Museum today, “the Kokovin Emerald”, seems to be not that pure original crystal the documents describe.
Photos of emeralds you see here are from Wikipedia.

I asked the author of the book, Michael Leikum, to send me photos of Alexandrite for this my blog, and here you see what he sent me (in the bottom). I add some words from the book. I hope this information will be interesting for you because it’s about jewelry too:

This stone is really mysterious and very rare. Many persons neared us (authors) during the exhibitions of the minerals and showed us their jewels made “from Alexandrite” but those never were real Alexandrites, those were always false stones.

It’s difficult to find truthful information about this stone. Available in internet articles and other pubblications often contain mistaken facts about it. (Source)

Now the photos. Alexandrite is very interesting because it changes it’s color in different conditions of the light. Normally it is emerald green but in the light of a candel it changes it’s color till crimson, raspberry pink. It is “Emerald” in the morning and “Amethyst” in the evening. I wanted to find more photos of this peculiarity, but these, seems to me, are the only photos demonstrating this efffect (I don’t pretend I’ve consulted ALL the sites in internet) . On the first photo is Alexandrite in the day light. Second is the same stone taken with the light of the lamps. (This stone is in a museum in Yekaterinburg, photos taken by M.P.Popov)

Other minerals can change their colors too but not so marked.


Александрит в искусственном освещении

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